Mike Sylvester

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Mike Sylvester


Mike Sylvester is a member of Democratic Socialists of America in Maine.[1]

Sylvester worked for over twenty years as a labor organizer, helping low income workers throughout the country build bargaining units and negotiate contracts. He lives on Peak’s Island with his wife, and currently works as the owner-operator of a golf cart rental business serving visitors to the island.

Background

First-term Maine State Representative Mike Sylvester, a DSA member since 2014, who has been involved with several socialist groups over the years, also says he was “excited by Bernie Sanders’s campaign. Bernie said everyone should run,” and with his district representative term-limited out, he decided to do just that. Leaving little doubt as to where he stood, his campaign signs proclaimed, “Elect a democratic socialist.”

Involved in union organizing for 20 years, with SEIU, UFCW, CWA, AFT, and Justice for Janitors, Sylvester explains, “I came out of an organizing culture where you say what you think.” Few would argue with the results: his 83% final election vote was the highest in the state. He acknowledges that he did get hissed during his first House speech, but what actually raised hackles among a few of his colleagues was the fact that he mentioned unions. [2]

Maine DSA 2018 endorsements

Southern Maine Democratic Socialists of America, April 19 2018;

Maine Clean Elections funding powers truly democratic elections. Southern Maine DSA endorsed Clean Elections candidates Betsy Sweet For Governor, Jeremy Mele For State Representative, Mike Sylvester, and Bob Maheu only have until tomorrow, April 20 to submit their $5 qualifying contributions. Will you help keep our democracy accountable to citizens, not corporations?[3]

State legislator run

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Maine’s reactionary governor, Paul LePage, has warned voters that his state’s legislature is being influenced by a “foreign socialist ideology.” Mike Sylvester is hoping to show that democratic socialism is right at home in Maine’s communities.

Building on years of experience as an organizer for SEIU, Mike won the Democratic primary race in Maine’s 39th district, which includes Portland’s east end, with 74% of the vote. Running as a democratic socialist and a Berniecrat, he has chosen to publicly finance his campaign and accept no private donations. If he wins in November, Mike hopes to fight to maintain public control of Portland’s water, tax hotel stays to fund improvements to housing and create strong incentives to promote the installation of solar panels. [4]

Maine DSA

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Monday, June 6, 2016 Portland Public Library 5 Monument Square (Congress & Elm) Meeting Room 5 Portland, ME.

This will be the first organizational meeting to form a new chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America here in Maine. David Duhalde, Deputy Director of the national office will be speaking along with Harlan Baker and Michael Sylvester

DSA on a roll

In April 2017, Quad Cities Democratic Socialists of America member Dylan Parker was elected to the Rock Island City Council, 5th Ward Alderman, with Democratic Socialists of America support.

Parker is now the thirteenth DSA member holding elected office in the country. With his victory, Parker joins a list that includes Carlos Rosa, Chicago’s 35th Ward Alderman, Mike Sylvester, of the Maine House of Representatives, and Julie Ann Nitsch, Austin Community College Board of Trustee in Texas.

“DSA is very excited about our own member Dylan Parker being elected Alderman of Rock Island, Illinois” DSA National Director Maria Svart Said. “You can now find DSA chapters in nearly every state in the union, and our public electoral activity and success can only grow from here.” In addition, DSA hopes that Khalid Kamau, a member running for city council in South Fulton, GA, will win the next DSA electoral victory on Tuesday, April 18th.[5]

AT&T ON STRIKE

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Maine Democratic Socialists of America May 20, 2017; ·

DSA FOLKS and others who care about workers struggles... AT&T ON STRIKE. If you are kicking around Portland this weekend, stop by the Marginal Way store and spread some SOLIDARITY.... and bring water and fruit and chips and cookies. An injury to one is an injury to all. #NOOUTSOURCING — with Kevin M. Ready, Barney McClelland, Seth Baker, Vanessa Sylvester and Mike Sylvester.

Anti-Gorsuch rally

March 2017, Portland joined several cities across the nation for a series of rallies under the name, “The People’s Defense.” Protests were centered around the slogan: We Object. Pro-democracy and civil rights advocates objected to a number of issues — Trump’s travel ban, spikes in hate crimes, health care reform, budget cuts to the EPA, Internet privacy — but most were focused on what they considered the most pressing and important: the nomination of Trump’s pick for Supreme Court Judge, Neil Gorsuch.

About 150 voters gathered on Sunday at Portland’s City Hall to object to Gorsuch, a candidate who’s both praised and criticized for his conservative views and strict constitutionalist perspective. One can see the ideological divide over Gorsuch locally in recent stories from the Portland Press Herald which report that a group of 98 Maine lawyers wrote and signed a letter in opposition to Gorsuch to Maine’s Senators, while a separate group of 49 signed one in support.

The speakers at the rally included former State Rep. and Bernie voter Diane Russell; Mike Sylvester, a State Rep. for District 39, and founding member of the Maine Democratic Socialists of America; Glen Brand, the chapter director at the Maine Sierra Club; Barney McClelland from the AFL-CIO; Maine Education Association President Lois Kilby-Chesney; and Michael Langenmayr, a steering committee member of the advocacy group Progressive Portland.[6]

NPC candidate

In August 2017 Mike Sylvester stood for election to the Democratic Socialists of America National Political Committee, at the National Convention in Chicago, from Maine Democratic Socialists of America.[7]

Mike was one of the co-founders of the Southern Maine DSA. He won his election to the Maine House of Representatives as an open Democratic Socialist and Labor Democrat and serves on the Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development committee. His bills sought to protect water as a human right, to provide opioid safe use spaces, to allow public sector workers to strike, to create cooperative ownership and micro loan strategies and to protect teachers for union activity.[8]

Maine Democratic Socialists of America Public Facebook Group

Members of Maine Democratic Socialists of America Public Facebook Group, as of May 12, 2017, included Mike Sylvester.[9]

Get Money Out of Politics

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Get Money Out of Politics - featuring Larry Lessig. Hosted by Zak Ringelstein , Sweet For Governor, Southern Maine Democratic Socialists of America, Sierra Club Maine

Saturday, April 7 at 1 PM - 3 PM.

Luther Bonney Hall, Portland, Maine 77059.

We at Ringelstein for U.S. Senate are thrilled to announce that we are hosting a summit on the importance of getting money out of politics on April 7, 2018 from 1:00-3:00pm at the University of Southern Maine.
Lawrence Lessig|Larry Lessig, leading academic on corruption in American politics, will keynote the event.
The event will also feature a talk by University of Maine School of Law Dean Danielle Conway and small discussions led by the Sierra Club Maine, the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting, Equality Maine, Southern Maine DSA, and Maine Citizens for Clean Elections. In addition, there will be a panel discussion on corruption with Senator Justin Chenette (Saco), Rep. Mike Sylvester (Portland), gubernatorial candidate Betsy Sweet, and former Rep. Harlan Baker.

2018 run

In 2018, a number of Democratic Socialists of America members are running for seats in the Maine House of Representatives, including Mike Sylvester (District 39), Tim Goodwin (District 23) and Jeremy Mele (District 19).

The Southern Maine DSA is considering endorsing all three of these candidates and told me that much of the work in their chapter involves deciding which campaigns and candidates to back.[10]

National DSA endorsement

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In August 2018 National Democratic Socialists of America endorsed Mike Sylvester,

Final 2018 endorsements

Southern Maine Democratic Socialists of America Final 2018 endorsements:

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DSA Elected Officials, March 2019

From a March 6, 2019 by DSA National Electoral Committee statement "DSA Elected Officials Support Teacher Power and Working People Everywhere."

Endorsing Democratic Socialists of America members included Mike Sylvester, State Representative, Maine.

References